Saturday, October 29, 2011

Flying Dog Snake Dog IPA

It's been a long time since I reviewed anything by the Flying Dog brewery out of Maryland and it's been a while since Simon of and I did a Skype review - so why not catch up on both in one shot? This is the first time Simon and I have reviewed an American beer - finally!

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (575) - Albany, New York, USA - NOV 22, 2011
I poured a 12oz bottle into an oversize wine glass.’

Appearance: Beautiful shade of red/copper, very clear with noticeable carbonation. Forms a large, white, frothy head which retains and laces pretty well.

Smell: Pine sap with tropical fruit juice concentrate as well as some seemingly confectionery qualities.

Taste: Sometimes I think it’s unfair to pigeon-hole a beer as a "West Coast" or "East Coast" or "English-style" India Pale Ale. Some beers have elements of multiple styles and Flying Dog Snake Dog IPA is a good example of that. It does lean more towards the eastern American style, though, which isn’t that much of a surprise considering the brewery’s location. It’s got the sticky piney, resiny quality from the east, the tropical aroma of the west and the overtly malty backbone from across the pond.

The beer is the prototypical IPA: immediate and strong bitterness from beginning to end. It’s a dry, needle-like bitter that lightly stabs the tongue with thousands of tiny, light prickles. Through the middle comes a rich, juicy sweetness of mango, guava and pineapple juice. It’s not acidic or tart at all, and the finish is remarkably sweet as well. Noticeable toffee and caramelized sugar-like tastes, akin to a British pale ale bring up the rear and linger on the tongue, along with plenty of hops. It’s a simultaneous palate of dry hoppy bitterness and sugary sweetness. Delectable, but it’s pushing it for me.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with good carbonation. Mostly smooth. Cloying aftertaste of hops and brown sugar that dries out the mouth.

Drinkability: Flying Dog Snake Dog IPA is certainly a bold beer with a palate that’s mostly satisfying if not a tad challenging. It has a mostly comfortable mouthfeel, but the drying sensation during and after the swig can be trying. It’s at least very smooth, and perhaps a bit refreshing for a moment or two while the tropical fruit qualities kick in. It certainly seems much lighter than its 7.1% ABV would have you believe. Not that I recommend sessioning it, but it’s an ideal beer to pair with very spicy food.
Grade: 7/10

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